New Delhi, Sept 20: Faced with strong protests from the farmers and a demand from the Maharashtra Government, the Government on Tuesday announced lifting of ban on export of onions with immediate effect.
The decision to permit exports of onions was taken by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Food headed by Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee here. ``Ban on onion export has been lifted,'' Union Minister for Science and Technology, Vilasrao Deshmukh told reporters after the GoM meeting.
Those who attended the crucial meeting included Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar and Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, K.V. Thomas. The government had imposed a ban on onion exports on September 9 to check its spiralling prices which touched Rs 25 a kg in retail in Delhi. The Minimum Export Price (MEP) on onions has been fixed at $475 per tonne, the same level when the government decided to prohibit the shipment of onion, Mr. Deshmukh said.
He said the situation will be reviewed after a fortnight. While the ban on exports had an instant impact in bringing down the wholesale prices of the onions by Rs. 2-5 per kg in Delhi, the decision had triggered protests from farmers in the key producing regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Farmers in Nashik district and Bangalore had refused to bring their produce to markets protesting the drop in their profit level due to ban on onion export. The farmers' agitation forced the government to take a fresh look on the onion export ban.
Commerce Secretary, Rahul Khullar said the MEP will be reviewed every fortnight and a close watch would be kept on domestic arrivals, total exports, overall domestic availability and domestic prices.